Painting basement ceiling black a good move?

22 Replies

Paint a ceiling black??

Just bought a 3/2 982 s.f ranch built in 1966. The basement is partly finished but will need demo of the current drop ceiling. The ceiling is around 7 feet without the drop ceiling. Not keen on spending for  a new drop ceiling and was considering painting the ceiling black on the suggestion of a colleague..but I dunno...can't exactly undo that back to bare wood once that's done. Is there a better color, or is this a mistake altogether? 

It depends on the dolor scheme you are using in the house.

The trend right now is gray neutral.

Check houzz for painting ideas.

But alotnof folks like the look of wood beams so i would paint it all black.

I would try a contrast color scheme.

I would paint white instead of black if you are going to paint.  A black ceiling will make the basement darker.  Maybe that is just my preference.  One of my favorite restaurants has a black spray painted drop ceiling.  It looks nice in a restaurant as a "night sky" kind of look.  I am not sure about a home's basement joists.  I prefer the natural wood color, but paint might be better if it is unsightly.

Jim.

@Paul Winka ,

I painted the basement ceiling black in a home I owned in Michigan.  It basically made the ceiling disappear.  In painting the ceiling we also painted the duct work and everything else.  It gave us a bit more height and was less expensive than other solutions.  The biggest decision point is the standard of the neighborhood.  Would this change be an improvement over other homes?  


I once bought a house that the loft ceiling was painted black with white sparkle that looked like the night sky I loved it my wife did not ,needless to say what happened to it 

Originally posted by @Taye N. :

It depends on the dolor scheme you are using in the house.

The trend right now is gray neutral.

Check houzz for painting ideas.

But alotnof folks like the look of wood beams so i would paint it all black.

I would try a contrast color scheme.

 did you understand the question? 

it's a basement, he's talking about a ceiling. not the walls. not landscape. the ceiling.

here's what i do - for buy and hold - we do NOT. i did it once, noone cared and noone noticed. it was a waste of black paint and labor. i'd do it in my house, but not a buy and hold. never again.

if you ever run a wire/duct or anything else in those joists, u will have to get that can of spray paint and spray it.

for a flip - unless they are 14' tall ceilings, no, i will not do it.

you said it's a <1k sq ft house. do you really think they'll care? answer is no. they wont.

get a better faucet or a dining room light instead.

Basements are dark places - go white.  Buy about twice as much paint as you think you need as bare wood really soaks up the paint and will need a couple coats to get the appearance you are after.  If you don't have a sprayer, rent one for the day.   You would regret doing this job by hand.  I would go for the cheap 5 gallon pails of contractor grade paint at your local big box home store because spraying is a bit wasteful and the quality of the paint doesn't make that big of difference for this application.  Good luck.

Originally posted by @James Mc Ree :

I would paint white instead of black if you are going to paint.  A black ceiling will make the basement darker.  Maybe that is just my preference.  One of my favorite restaurants has a black spray painted drop ceiling.  It looks nice in a restaurant as a "night sky" kind of look.  I am not sure about a home's basement joists.  I prefer the natural wood color, but paint might be better if it is unsightly.

Jim.

The concern about white is that all the dark cracks would show and the wood is darker so it would not appear so uniform. It would seem some of the aesthetic would be lost but I can see how black would make the basement seem smaller/gloomier. In any case, the basement in what will be a rental someday is a good place to experiment. 

Originally posted by @Rob Myers :

Basements are dark places - go white.  Buy about twice as much paint as you think you need as bare wood really soaks up the paint and will need a couple coats to get the appearance you are after.  If you don't have a sprayer, rent one for the day.   You would regret doing this job by hand.  I would go for the cheap 5 gallon pails of contractor grade paint at your local big box home store because spraying is a bit wasteful and the quality of the paint doesn't make that big of difference for this application.  Good luck.

 Hey Rob, thanks. What is your brand preference? Would a paint/primer mix be a good idea?

Originally posted by @George P. :
Originally posted by @Taye Nguyen:

It depends on the dolor scheme you are using in the house.

The trend right now is gray neutral.

Check houzz for painting ideas.

But alotnof folks like the look of wood beams so i would paint it all black.

I would try a contrast color scheme.

 did you understand the question? 

it's a basement, he's talking about a ceiling. not the walls. not landscape. the ceiling.

here's what i do - for buy and hold - we do NOT. i did it once, noone cared and noone noticed. it was a waste of black paint and labor. i'd do it in my house, but not a buy and hold. never again.

if you ever run a wire/duct or anything else in those joists, u will have to get that can of spray paint and spray it.

for a flip - unless they are 14' tall ceilings, no, i will not do it.

you said it's a <1k sq ft house. do you really think they'll care? answer is no. they wont.

get a better faucet or a dining room light instead.

 Noted and upvoted! Money is better spent elsewhere. 

The basement in this 1960s house the way it is now takes away from the total package that the house is. Old, roughed-up paneling, 9" chipped away tile, a defunct cocktail bar with sink, and nonfunctioning but roughed-in 3/4 bath, no bedrooms. I'm thinking it'd be better off unfinished and unimproved if a rental for sure. 

I might have to start a separate thread for this, but for all reading this here that have done tons of rehabs, what would you do with this basement if this was a fix and flip? 

I always paint walls white and floors gray, but I have never touched the ceiling/joists. If you could do it for $100 in a few hours, I say try it out. However it could take a lot longer, cost more, and the look may not be as nice as imagined.

when I worked in Detroit the guys would paint the copper lines grey so the thieves thought they were galvanized and would not rip them out.. other wise.. in a rental don't see the need at all

Hi @Paul Winka

Here's a couple of photos of the last house I built for a customer.  It's in a higher end are of Metro Detroit.  It sold for double that median priced homes in the city.  I'm just trying to relay what type of value this home came in at and that the buyers requested a black ceiling.

Originally posted by @Dylan Tanaka :

Hi @Paul Winka

Here's a couple of photos of the last house I built for a customer.  It's in a higher end are of Metro Detroit.  It sold for double that median priced homes in the city.  I'm just trying to relay what type of value this home came in at and that the buyers requested a black ceiling.

Thanks for the pics to help visualize it. So it wasn't your idea to paint it black, but the customers? Is "flipping to order" a normal part of your business process? 

@Dylan Tanaka would you change your choice based on ceiling height? That basement looks to have tall ceilings and a lot of natural light. Do you do the same thing in a short ceiling basement with only a small window? Also it appears you have everything painted except the wiring.  Do you paint prior to wiring a house? How do you paint it with wiring in place, tight to the joists?

@Paul Winka

What color is the ceiling grid?  Keep the grid in place.  This will allow you to install 2 x 4 light fixtures.  But it allow creates a perceptual ceiling by the visual barrier of seeing the grid.  If the grid is black then paint black above it.   Paint all pipes and ductwork above.  Remember when you remove the ceiling you now have an unfinished space per tax evaluation (verify for your area).  Keeping the grid now give you an argument of a finished space.  Verify if now need to run all your electrical within conduits.  Verify with building codes for your area.   I believe you can drywall a ceiling cheaper than tile and grid system.

Walk around your big box stores like Best Buy as they have white ceilings here.  Either color will work but have different affects.  White is bright and will appear larger.  Black is for cozy or intimate when you have low ceilings.  

@Brian Pulaski

Good questions; the wiring went in after it was painted and was "touched up" to match.  This basement was 9' tall but even on 8' basememts we spray them back.  We typically, pretty much always, add a good amount of recessed lights.  They are inexpensive and easy to install in an open basement ceiling. Flourescent lights jut gotta go!

Above is an 8' basememt sprayed in darker brown, Superior Bronze from Sherwin Williams.

Above is an 8" sprayed black.  

The buyers around here, Metro Detroit overwhelmingly choose black.

Below is another pic of how nice a basment can look with drywall, carpet and black ceilings.

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